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Health and Social Care services under extreme pressure

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[17 December 2021]

As with all other Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) and NHS Boards across the country, South Ayrshire HSCP is currently facing extreme pressure and is asking for your continued understanding, patience and help at this time. We are asking our community to support us in our continued efforts to mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic by: getting vaccinated; minimising social contact; and, helping to provide care for loved ones over the festive period.

A build-up of demand for services and delays in treatment from other parts of the health system due to the pandemic has resulted in overwhelming pressure - most notably in terms of care packages for those who are medically fit to be discharged from hospital, but who need some extra support to safely return to their own homes.

A key priority for the HSCP's priority right now is therefore supporting as many people to return home from hospital as quickly as they are well enough to. However staffing shortages and rapidly increasing demand make this a significant challenge.

Families with a loved one waiting to be discharged from hospital are now being asked to consider whether there is anything they could do to support them to return home more quickly and avoid having to remain in hospital unnecessarily over the festive period until a care package can be put in place.

This could include providing meals, assisting with medication or helping with personal care, either in their own home or at the home of their family member.

Some families may also have been offered alternative options for their relative, for example a temporary stay in a residential care home. We would urge families to please carefully consider these options at a time when we cannot give a guaranteed timescale of when a care package will be put in place.

Tim Eltringham, Director of South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

"Our priority right now is ensuring that it can support as many individuals living in South Ayrshire to return home from hospital as quickly as they are well enough to. Throughout the pandemic the South Ayrshire community has shown amazing resilience and community spirit. At this difficult time, we must ask for your support.

"Our hospitals are required for those who urgently need medical treatment and support from families would also allow care staff to focus on those with the greatest need and who may not have a support network around them.

"We also appreciate that this can be a big commitment for families. Caring for someone can be challenging, especially at this busy time of year, and families would need to carefully think about how long they could potentially provide this level of support for.

"We are working hard to expand our capacity, with a particular focus on care at home. We are making continued efforts to identify and recruit additional staff and are working with our independent providers to maximise their capacity. Where possible we have also increased the bed capacity in our community hospitals."


You can also help by to continuing to follow the public health advice to stay safe and protect others by:

  • wearing face coverings
  • getting vaccinated when offered
  • meeting outside and keeping a distance from others
  • cleaning your hands and surfaces often
  • getting a test and staying at home if you have symptoms
  • taking regular tests if you don't have symptoms
  • using the Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland apps
  • working from home if you can